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BECOMING A BETTER VERSION OF THEMSELVES: SARAH SHOOK & THE DISARMERS

Sarah Shook plays Strings & Suds 2019.JPG
Joe Kendrick
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Sarah Shook plays Strings & Suds

One of the best things about conversations are the pleasant surprises they can reveal. Taking from previous experience with Sarah Shook — being familiar with their aesthetic, having listened to all of their music and having been an emcee at a Disarmers show — I was not expecting some of what came up in our interview. On the surface, one sees tattoos, steely gaze and a nose ring, hears a swagger and sneer in songs like “Stranger”, “If It’s Poison” and “Heartache In Hell”, and could get the impression that these portray the whole story. But there is much more to Sarah Shook than their veneer. There is a complexity, subtlety and vulnerability to Sarah that is, well, a bit disarming.

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In this episode, Sarah Shook talks about everything from the evolution of sound in their new album Nightroamer, their road to sobriety, how Southern culture is reflected in their music, how things we might think that negatively affect just the LGBTQ+ community also extend to everyone else, and more. Plus we drop in on songs from Nightroamer, Sarah Shook & the Disarmers’ third collection, which maintains their trademark sound while also bringing it forward into some new territory with producer Pete Anderson at the helm.

Songs heard in this episode:

“Been Lovin’ You Too Long” by Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, from Nightroamer

“Nightroamer” by Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, from Nightroamer, excerpt

“I Got This” by Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, from Nightroamer, excerpt

“Believer” by Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, from Nightroamer, excerpt

“Please Be A Stranger” by Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, from Nightroamer

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Joe Kendrick grew up far off in the woods at in rural Stanfield, NC, where he acquired his first Sony Walkman, listened to both AM and FM radio from Charlotte, went to Nascar races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, attended a small Baptist church, read Rolling Stone, subscribed to cassette clubs, and played one very forgettable season of high school football. From there, Joe studied Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was able to fulfill his dream of being a disc jockey at WXYC. He volunteered at WNCW soon after graduation.